Saturday, March 26, 2011

Elite 8 Saturday Picks - March Madness 2011

By Pauly
New York City

There's some value (big cheddar on the horizon) on betting dogs (i.e. fading the sharps and leading the sheeple) for the Sweet 16 games, that is to say, only when you bet the proper dogs. And what constitutes a proper dog? One that wins. I got one dog right but missed a chance at the other one during Friday night action. Four games. Two #1 seeds. Two double digit seeds. And I couldn't stay away from betting something, a little taste, on every game because of an inert inability of control the inner action junkie that rules my world for a fortnight after the Ides of March.

I had a relatively fun Friday, all things reconsidered. The only low point? When #1 seed Ohio State got upset by Kentucky. G-Rob sent me a text the other day with a bit of unsolicited advice that I should bet his alma mater Kentucky, and take it to the bank. I should have listened to him. I wasn't 100% sold on the spread and instead I bet OSU money line, but even that conservative bet shit the bed when Kentucky won by 1. Another #1 seed bit the dust. Three down with only #1 Kansas remaining.

On a dour note, I picked OSU to win the majority of my pools, including Pauly's Pub, and now I'm gotta grind out a couple of sports bets to make up for the cashola that I pissed away on 15+ brackets in various pools.

My biggest saving grace? Riding the hot team for a profit -- VC fucking U. I hammered VCU with a pair of moneyline bets and happily gobbled up points, getting +4 against FSU in a battle of the double digit seeds. It was a close match and VCU prevailed. That victory wiped out any loses incurred with OSU.

In the most boring games of the tournament, I added a couple of conservative moneyline bets on UNC and Kansas. The fact that Kansas had an open path to the championship game freaked me out, which made them vulnerable if they were overlooking their game against Los Sipders of Richmond. Ha, what the fuck was I thinking? I was too conservative with underestimating a young UNC squad (who hadn't covered in their previous 5 games) and a Kansas team on a mission. Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda. I shoulda taken off my "restrictor plates" and bet those favorites with the points. Ah, well. That's the past. I shouldn't worry about being greedy, and instead, focus on making well-informed decisions and curtailing the amount of money I place on impulse bets.

OK, enough of me yapping about Friday's games. You're here to fade/tail my Saturday picks, so let's get down with it...

- UCONN -3 and -2.5. I bet the Huskies twice -- once yesterday and again this morning when I woke up and saw the line move. According to RJ Bell's podcast, there's a "wiseguy tendency to bet the dogs in the Elite 8." Ho hum. And if the friggin' line moves again to -2, I'm gonna hit it again as hard as I can. My gut is telling me to stick with UCONN, a hot team that has made many bettors wealthy over the last couple of weeks because UCONN covered every game in March Madness (and a few in the big East tournament). When Kemba Walker gets hot, no one can stop him. But what about Arizona's Derrick Williams? On Thursday he proved he had the skills to play at the next level. He might be the best player in the country, but can he carry Arizona all the way to the Final Four? Nope. This will be D-Will's last game in an Arizona uniform before he becomes a lottery pick in the NBA. I was tinkering with an idea of betting the UNDER total play in this game because the public knows those two teams don't play defense for shit and they'll be hammering the OVER. Sometimes, you gotta fade the public, but I'm still on the fence.

- Florida -3.5 and Florida -190 ML. Florida should have put away BYU in the late 2nd half, but a couple of ill-timed missed free throws forced an overtime session. They Gators couldn't close the deal and finally put Jimmer and the Mormons out of their misery. Butler got lucky twice on Thursday -- Wisconsin played like shit the other night (shooting an anemic 30%) and even after they blew a 20+ point lead, they were able to hold off the counterattack and still win. After another remarkable run in the tournament, it's finally time to say goodbye to Butler. Florida is too tough, led by NYC-bred point guard Erving Walker, who incidentally is my new favorite player. Just hit your free throws, man! My biggest gripe about Florida -- their erratic free three shooting (hence why BYU was still in the game) -- which might cause me to lose more hair and turn my remaining hair grey. I selected Florida to beat Pitt in this "Elite 8" game in most of my brackets, so it's hard for me not to see Florida in the Final Four. Ah, one last note...I put in a small bet on the Florida moneyline just in case Butler hangs tough and Florida misses their FTs in crunch time and they only win by a bucket.

Disclaimer: These picks are for entertainment purposes only. After all, gambling is illegal at Bushwood Country Club and in most parts of rural America. The Tao of Poker is not a registered investment adviser or broker/dealer. Readers are advised that the material contained herein should be used solely for informational purposes. Tao of Poker does not purport to tell or suggest which games that readers should wager for themselves. True gamblers should always conduct their own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Tao of Poker will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a reader's reliance on information obtained on Tao of Poker. Readers are solely responsible for their own investment decisions.
That's it for now.

Instead of live blogging the minutiae of sports betting, follow my progress on Twitter via @taopauly for live Elite 8 updates. Not to fear, the vacuum chamber of the poker world and regular poker-themed programming will resume on Monday.

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2:22pm: I'm tailing RJ Bell and company's pick on the UNDER total in the UCONN/Arizona. They gave a convincing argument here. I got the UNDER in at 145.5 and 146.5.

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